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The Philippines – Universal says investigations have concluded without charge

By - 25 March 2015

Universal Entertainment has confirmed that investigations into its Chairman Kazuo Okada and its financial dealings in the Philippines and in Japan ‘have concluded’ adding that investigations in the United States would soon be concluded too due to a ‘lack of evidence.’

Some of Universal’s executives were being investigated for alleged illegal payments to smooth the construction of the US$2bn Manila Bay Resorts.

Universal stated: “Universal hereby announces that as reported in the announcement regarding disposition relating to criminal complaints dated December 29, 2014, Ms. Katerine Camposano, an investigator with the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation, stated at hearing of the Gaming and Amusement Committee of the House of Representatives of the Republic of the Philippines that in the final report dated September 24, the prosecutor General of the Philippines had proposed to the Secretary of Justice to terminate the investigation due to insufficient evidence in regard to the groundless suspicion of bribing of officers and employees of Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation. We are pleased to announce that all inspections or investigations by government related bodies – of the group and its officers and employees in relation to the groundless suspicion – have thereby concluded for all practical purposes in the Philippines just as all investigations in Japan have concluded.”

It added: “There is an investigation which is inferred to be realted to te suspicion by the US Department of Justice based on a grand jury summons of Aruze and we consider that having received the above investigation results by investigative authorities in the Philippines and Japan – which are understood to be the place of the [alleged] act and the place where the results occurred for the suspicion – the investigation [in the U.S.] will be closed due to the lack of evidence.”

The investigation followed claims by Wynn Resorts that Universal offered cash and gifts totalling US$110,000 to executives at PAGCOR, the Philippines casino regulator. At one stage Mr Okada was Wynn Resorts’ largest shareholder until Wynn forcibly bought Mr Okada’s 20 per cent ownership at a vastly discounted price.

In other related news, Mississippi’s state gaming regulator has approved the renewal of Universal’s gaming licence but has added a condition that the FBI investigation is concluded without charge.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission voted to approve Okada’s “suitability” status, which had come up for review after nine years.

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